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Europe still runs on diesel, Italy included says EEA report

EU target of 70% lower emissions by 2050 still far off

03 December, 16:01
Europe still runs on diesel, Italy included says EEA report (ANSA) - Brussels, December 3 - Europe still runs too much on diesel and not enough on renewable fuels, and Italy is among the leading culprits, the latest annual European Environment Agency (EEA) transportation report showed on Tuesday.

A major contributor to excessive greenhouse-gas levels, air pollution and noise, diesel emits more pollutants than petrol. Last year, 69% of the fuel used on the roads of Europe was diesel, and Italy's diesel fleet placed eighth after Luxembourg, Belgium, Austria, France, Spain, Romania, and Bulgaria.

It was followed by Portugal and Germany, the report said.

At 610 vehicles per 1,000 inhabitants, Italy still tops the EU list in terms of car density, followed by Iceland at 645/1,000 and Luxembourg at 658/1,000.

Cars are Italians' favorite method of urban transportation.

A Eurobarometer survey showed 52% of respondents in the southern city of Palermo drive a car and 19% a motorcycle, second only to the inhabitants of Nicosia, in Cyprus (89% and 2%). The northern Italian city of Verona placed fourth (55% and 11%), Naples placed eighth (52% and 10%) and Rome was 14th (50% and 8%). In the Italian capital, 37% of commuters take more than 30 minutes to get to work, compared to 65% of commuters in London.

Ecopasses and other limitations to driving in historic city centers have successfully reduced traffic in Bologna (-23% between 2004-2006), Rome (-18% between 2000-2005) and Milan (-14% between 2007-2008). "Various cities are coming up with innovative strategies that are making car-based transportation a thing of the past century," said EEA Executive Director Hans Bruyninckx. "Urban living should not mean polluted air, traffic, noise, and long commutes".

Overall, while EU greenhouse gas emissions fell by 0.6% in 2010-2011, they have risen by 25% since 1990. Petrol consumption dropped 0.6% in the same period, not enough to achieve the EU target of 70% reduction by 2050, while the use of renewable energy in transportation was just 3.8% in 2011.